Update on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on education, leisure and cultural activities – 7 August 2020
Education, leisure and cultural activities resume with special measures in place
The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare have updated their guidance for local authorities and learning providers for the start of the 2020–2021 academic year. The Regional State Administrative Agency has also published its own advice. Tuusula Municipal Council has drawn up a local policy based on these national and regional guidelines. The coronavirus has not left our country, and the number of new coronavirus cases has slightly increased.
Our top priority is to prevent the spread of the virus, ensure a high level of hygiene, avoid unnecessary physical contact and enable social distancing indoors. By following the recommendations, we can all help to reduce the spread of the disease and the risk of infection. Should the situation in our area worsen, we intend to work closely with the Central Uusimaa joint authority for social services and healthcare to tighten safety measures and issue stricter guidelines.
More detailed information on how our various services will resume this autumn is provided below. We would like to wish all parents and users of our services a good start to the autumn of 2020 and success in the 2020–2021 academic year. Let’s make it a safe one together!
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS AND SIXTH FORM COLLEGES
All schools in Tuusula follow the guidelines and recommendations of the National Agency for Education, the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Institute for Health and Welfare.
The objective of the guidelines and recommendations is to control the risk of infection and minimise the number of individuals exposed to the virus. Attention has also been given to making contact tracing as easy as possible.
Parents are reminded not to send their children to school if they are at all unwell. If a child develops symptoms at school, their guardian will be notified and the child immediately taken to a separate room to wait for their guardian with a member of staff.
Good hand hygiene and cough etiquette are crucial for preventing the spread of the virus. Staff have been advised to pay particular attention to these practices in schools. More frequent cleaning and daily wiping of surfaces have also been introduced. Disinfectant wipes have been provided for keeping shared supplies clean.
Timetables have been revised to stagger start, finish and break times so as to avoid unnecessary physical contact. No large group activities will be organised for the time being. Pupils from different classes or form groups will not be allowed to mix during lunch breaks. However, the school canteen can be used if classes or form groups can be served at different times. All pupils will be served a hot meal.
Special arrangements (pursuant to section 18 of the Basic Education Act) will be made if a doctor has deemed a child unable to attend school due to a medical condition of a member of their family. A personal teaching plan will be drawn up for all such children on a case-by-case basis in the WILMA portal.
In the event that a pupil or a member of staff tests positive for coronavirus, health authorities will trace the route of transmission. Anyone who may have been exposed will be asked to quarantine under the Communicable Diseases Act, usually for a period of 14 days.
Schools have also been instructed to prepare a plan for teaching pupils remotely in the event that the coronavirus situation changes. Only pre-school children, years 1 to 3 and pupils receiving preparatory education, extended compulsory education or special-needs education will be able to physically attend school in such circumstances.
Schools will inform parents of their policies before the academic year begins and by 11 August at the latest.
Information about parents’ evenings during the 2020 autumn term will be provided separately. Each shool and nursery is different, and arrangements may vary.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE (ECEC)
We would like to extend a warm welcome to all our new and returning ECEC customers!
Some children have had a long break from nursery and many are eager to reconnect with their friends. Others are only just starting nursery. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak is still affecting the operation of nurseries. We are doing everything that we can to prevent the spread of the disease and to keep our nursery staff and children safe.
As a rule, only children and members of staff are allowed inside nurseries and schools. Open days for families of children who are starting nursery for the first time will be held with social distancing and hygiene rules in mind.
Any open days scheduled for August will primarily be held outdoors. Families who absolutely need to see the inside of the building may be admitted at a time when there are no other families or children present, such as late in the afternoon.
Maintaining a high level of hygiene especially through frequent handwashing is critical. Parents are reminded not to bring their children to nursery if they are at all unwell. The coronavirus appears to be primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets. Practising good hand hygiene and cough etiquette is therefore important for preventing the spread of the virus.
Both children and parents will be asked to wash their hands whenever they enter the building and before they leave. Children will also be told to wash their hands before meals, every time they come in from the playground and every time after they sneeze or cough as well as whenever their hands are visibly dirty. Disposable paper towels will be provided for children to dry their hands on.
In the event that there is nowhere for children to wash their hands with soap and water, hand sanitiser will be provided. All schools and nurseries will have plentiful supplies of hand sanitiser. Children will only be allowed to use hand sanitiser in the presence of a grown-up.
Disposable tissues will be used to catch sneezes and coughs and discarded immediately after use. If there are no tissues to hand, children will be instructed to sneeze or cough into the crook of their elbow and then wash their hands.
If a child develops symptoms at nursery, they will be immediately taken to a separate room to wait for their guardian with a member of staff. The member of staff will maintain a safe distance from the potentially sick child at all times. The current guidance is for anyone with symptoms to seek advice from their local healthcare centre and, if necessary, get a coronavirus test. Even mildly symptomatic individuals should get tested.
Non-face-to-face communication between nurseries and parents worked well in the spring. It makes sense to continue the same practice in the autumn.
Parents’ evenings in the autumn term will be held either outdoors or as teleconferences. Each nursery has its own policy, which will be communicated to parents in due course.
We would like to wish all of our ECEC customers a happy autumn term!
TUUSULA ADULT EDUCATION CENTRE AND ART SCHOOL
Classes at Tuusula Art School will resume on Monday, 24 August. Lessons will be run according to the school’s normal timetable. Students are expected to practise good hand hygiene and avoid unnecessary physical contact. Anyone with symptoms should not come to lessons.
Registration for the autumn term of the Tuusula Adult Education Centre will open on Monday, 10 August. Enrolment in the adult education centre’s exercise classes and clubs will begin at 9.00 am and enrolment in all other courses at 1.00 pm. Instructions for new students and a link via which students can register online can be found at https://www.tuusula.fi/sivu.tmpl?sivu_id=1681.
Almost all classes will be taught in classrooms, taking the recommendations of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Institute for Health and Welfare into account. Class sizes will be slightly smaller than normal in order to enable social distancing. Students will be seated between one and two metres apart. Anyone at higher risk from the coronavirus disease should think carefully about attending classes in the autumn term.
CULTURAL VENUES, LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
Safety in libraries
Special attention has been given to the safety of customers and staff in libraries, and some services may not be available. Safety is ensured by limiting the number of people inside the building at any one time, by enforcing social distancing and by providing guidance on hygiene. More frequent cleaning and wiping of any equipment available to customers have also been introduced.
Instructions for customers:
Please do not visit the library if you are at all unwell.
Remember to practise good hand hygiene and cough etiquette. Help yourself to the hand sanitiser provided.
Use the self-service machines and minimise physical contact with others. Keep a safe distance away from other customers and staff.
Pay by card instead of cash.
Restrictions in the mobile library
Good hand hygiene and social distancing must also be observed in the mobile library, which currently only admits one family or two individuals at a time. Customers are advised to reserve the books that they need in advance.
The mobile library services provided to schools and nurseries are also subject to special safety measures. Schools and nurseries are advised to reserve the books that they need in advance and only send one or two individuals at a time to collect them. Whole classes or groups will not be admitted into the vehicle until further notice.
Temporary capacity restrictions are in place in the central library’s meeting facilities: the Einari suite can currently be reserved for up to 20 people and the Laura suite for up to 15 people.
Safety in museums
Tuusula Municipal Council has reopened some of its museums and introduced special measures to keep customers and staff safe. The buildings are cleaned daily, and social distancing is enforced by limiting the number of visitors. One-way systems have also been introduced. Unless the situation changes, groups will be welcome from September onwards.
Painter Pekka Halonen’s former studio, Halosenniemi, is open every day from 11.00 am to 6.00 pm until the end of August. The former home of poet J H Erkko (“Erkkola”) and the cottage in which author Aleksis Kivi spent his final months are open between 11.00 am and 6.00 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. All the museums have extended opening hours until 7.00 pm on Thursdays in August.
Fitness centres and outdoor sports venues in Tuusula continue to operate as normal, subject to the latest hygiene and social distancing rules. Spaces in exercise classes are limited and must be booked in advance.
Sports clubs are responsible for ensuring safety on their premises. The indoor swimming pool is open, with safety information and advice provided to customers throughout the building.
Youth clubs will reopen at the beginning of September. How the clubs can operate and their indoor spaces used will depend on how the situation evolves. More information and guidelines will be shared closer to the reopening date.
Wishing you a safe autumn,
Virpi Lehmusvaara, Director of Education and Culture and the entire Education, Leisure and Culture Team
Julkisesti, opettajille, henkilökunnalle ja huoltajille